How to Use Stock Photos for Social Media

Content Marketing

Many brands lack the necessary high-quality image assets for social media posts, most often because these assets can be expensive to create. That’s where stock photos come in.Stock photos are high-quality, professionally-shot photos that can be licensed for use for many purposes. Licensing these photos can range in price (some are even free). When searching for stock images, keep an eye out for the images that fall under the Creative Commons Zero license (CC0), which “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law”. In other words, you can use any image under the CC0 license for any purpose!These stock imagery sites all fall under the CC0 license:

  • Pikwizard – pictures with models (great for lifestyle assets)
  • Pexels – curated images from other stock sites
  • Pixabay – includes not only photos but illustrations and vectors
  • Unsplash – offers ten new photos each day

So you’ve found an archive of stock photos for social media that you can legally use. Now what?

  • Make sure all the images are relevant to the content. Rather than selecting an image that can be used for practically anything (a person on a laptop), select one more specific to the content it accompanies.
  • Download the image in the highest resolution available. However, make sure you size it appropriately for whichever platform you plan on posting it to.
  • Edit the image (make sure the images are labeled as “modifiable”). Add logos, insert text overlay, zoom in/out, change the color scheme, etc. There are plenty of user-friendly apps and sites that allow you to edit social media content easily.